Having a partner with Aspergers when you’re a “neurotypical” can be challenging at times, and Aspies can sometimes be confused and frustrated by the needs of neurotypical partners. If you are the neurotypical partner, it helps to understand that your partner processes differently and has different needs and expectations, and is not uncaring, trying to hold out on you or deliberately trying to upset you. If you are the Aspie, you need to understand your partner’s needs, feelings and ideas are as important to him or her as yours are to you. You need to take these needs seriously if you want to be together.
The increased incidence of individuals who are both transgender and on the autistic spectrum as compared to the expected number of those identifying as transgender in the general population is demonstrated by research. Understanding this is a more complex matter, and one that has given rise to hypotheses running from gender nonconformity to some overlapping genetic contribution. Just as there’s no single typical Asperger individual, it seems unlikely that one idea explains everyone.
Most experienced parents and teachers are well aware that children with NLD and Asperger’s don't pick up on nonverbal cues. Most often the focus (and intervention) is on cues having to do with facial expression, body language and gesture. What many don’t realize is that tone of voice is also a nonverbal cue that is often misinterpreted.
Most of parents and those with AS (or NLD) know that a trip to the dentist can be a non-preferred experience to put it mildly, or to put it another way, they can be dead set against it. This blog is to briefly explore why a visit causes so much anxiety, and then to get practical advice, 9 tips about working with the dentist’s office to make the experience better.
There are many studies suggesting an overlap between anorexia (AN) and higher functioning autism/Aspergers (AS); others dismiss the idea. What exactly is research showing, and why is this important for treatment?
Dr. William Mandy has done some fascinating work exploring the conventional wisdom that many more boys than girls have Asperger’s Syndrome (AS). The research of Dr. Mandy and his associates show that girls with Asperger’s are under-diagnosed for a simple reason: they look very different from Asperger boys, who are our model of what AS looks like.
Chicago Med is examining Asperger’s Syndrome in some depth through the story of a brilliant surgeon, Dr. Isidore Latham. It’s rare to see a real exploration of what it means to be an adult who has AS and to see how others respond to someone who has it.
Parents and children (of all ages) often live together. This is especially challenging for families of AS/NLD “kids.” For example, parents of a girl I’m working with had a laundry list of complaints of how she didn’t “act her age;” she felt constantly criticized. A solution is working over time. The girl’s parents had to understand and accept her as who she was, so there wasn’t the constant undercurrent of criticism and disappointment. They needed to narrow down the laundry list to a few reasonable goals. The girl needed to recognize a few requests that made sense, and “buy into” making them work for her. Life was more tolerable for everyone when expectations were realistic. There are ways to get along and reduce conflict. Here’s some ideas to foster mutual understanding (and a little more peace) between parents and children.
Children with Asperger’s or NLD often receive help at school and outside school. They might see OT’s, psychologists, guidance counselors, special education teachers, and Speech and Language therapists, as a partial list, to help with anxiety, depression, social skills, sensory issues and motor skills, handling frustrations, and schoolwork. They often create behavior plans at home and school. I often see a team of people working with a child. What amazes me is that these people usually don’t communicate with each other, and often don’t communicate with parents in a helpful way.
It's a significant part of AS and NLD is that people miss the critical nonverbal cues that make up as much as 70% - 90% of social communication, so they can fail to know when to join, how to follow the "give and take" of a group conversation, and how to read the response to their own behavior. One way to get guidance is to self advocate - to explain the challenge and ask for feedback. This has its pro's and con's, and there are pointers that are good to know. First, the pro's. If you have AS or NLD, you don't "get it" when you're missing something, so being told to be more self-aware and “catch yourself” isn't helpful unless someone verbalizes what it is you’re supposed to catch. Having someone let you know social norms you might be missing can be very helpful. If you are worried that something is not right but aren't sure, you can ask for feedback. Each social group has its flow and rules, and deciphering them often needs actual verbal explanation. The good news is that within a group there is consistency, so as you learn the unspoken rules, you can be more self aware of observing them. Now the con's: You have to be both very solid in your sense of self worth and non-defensive to take feedback, because it's usually criticism. If someone says you go on too long, or you aren't giving other people a chance to talk, that can feel embarrassing and even shameful. It's not hard to to fall into negative thinking like, "People think I'm annoying" and "People don't like me. " It's important to both believe and tell yourself that you're an OK person, you know you have a challenge picking this up, and that it's a good thing that people want to share this instead of excluding you. This is challenging if you, like most of people, have a negative emotional response to being criticized. The tendency of most people who feel embarrassed is to become defensive, and usually argue because of anger or withdraw because of hurt. Both of these defeat the purpose of getting feedback, which is to be able to participate more successfully.